Alberta Politics
Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews reads the province’s budget speech yesterday (Photo: Screenshot of Government of Alberta Video).

Alberta is Alberta again! The poor little rich kid of Confederation brings down a budget

Posted on October 25, 2019, 2:44 am
7 mins

Happy St. Crispin’s Day!

Appropriately enough, it’s time for those of us who live here in Wild Rose Country to cry, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!”

The late Ralph Klein, premier of Alberta, at right, with an actual union leader, AUPE’s then president, Dan MacLennen (Photo: AUPE).

Alberta is Alberta again! Yesterday’s vicious austerity budget proves it.

Alberta’s once again the poor little rich kid of Confederation, crying poverty, throwing its weight around, and careering from knee-jerk austerity to pre-election profligacy as the province’s economy careens from boom to bust.

As of yesterday, pretty much as when Ralph Klein was still running the place, we were back to operating like what University of Alberta Professor Russell Cobb describes as the failed state of Oklahoma, except that this time we’ve already seen the movie and we know it doesn’t have a happy ending.

Mr. Klein, who went to his eternal reward in 2013, did a lot of damage to Alberta with his austerity campaign through the 1990s, keeping taxes ridiculously low by running on fossil fuel royalties, leaving a huge infrastructure deficit, and putting health care into a state of chaos from which it’s never quite recovered.

That said, feckless as he was, Mr. Klein didn’t encourage actual separatist lunatics to torque up the fight with Ottawa that all Alberta premiers have, or set up an inquisition with a snitch line to justify a discredited conspiracy theory. And he threw Stephen Harper’s independantiste Firewall Manifesto into the trashcan where it belonged instead of recycling it.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Plus, then-premier Klein — who as a matter of historical record thought now-Premier Kenney was a sanctimonious pest — had no ambition to be prime minister of Canada and never campaigned very enthusiastically for the federal chapter of his party. By contrast, it was to accommodate the Blue Team in the recent federal campaign — won by Mr. Kenney’s arch foe, Liberal Justin Trudeau on Monday — that explains why this first UCP budget had to wait more than six months to get to the floor of the Legislature.

Mr. Klein also didn’t engage in serial climate change denial and obstructionism, although planetary warming wasn’t really a thing yet. But he could actually get along with public sector unions when he tried.

Judging from yesterday’s budget and recent pronouncements recorded in this space, Mr. Kenney seems determined to bring us the worst of the Klein years with none of the occasional flashes of cheerful decency or self-deprecating humour Mr. Klein sometimes offered up.

King Henry V of England in 1413 (Image: National Portrait Gallery).

When the dust has settled, the cuts in yesterday’s budget — introduced by Finance Minister Travis Toews, as is tradition; wearing an old pair of cowboy boots, as isn’t — will work out to about the same as Mr. Klein’s, maybe worse.

That is to say, if you add budgeted cuts of “only” 2.8 per cent a year over the life of the four-year fiscal plan to the combined expected annual impact of population growth and inflation, it’s the ’90s all over again. The UCP says that doesn’t matter. It does.

And this time, if the prognosticators are right, there may never be another petroleum boom, which apparently doesn’t bother anyone around here enough to stop running the economy on fumes and implement a sensible taxation scheme so we can manage the place like grownups.

Indeed, Mr. Toews indicated the UCP would impose more austerity — the opposite of what most economists recommend — if there is a worldwide recession. So do up your seatbelts, Albertans.

University of Alberta professor and Oklahoma native Russell Cobb (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The strong revenge aspect to this budget will see big cuts to civil service jobs, attempted rollbacks to public employees’ pay, skyrocketing university tuition, smackdowns for uppity municipalities, and two major hospital projects put on ice in disloyal Edmonton while a big one proceeds in more reliably Conservative Calgary.

This may or may not result in the made-in-Alberta recession the Alberta Federation of Labour predicted the day before yesterday. And it may or may not result in the creation of many jobs, as the government promises. But it will certainly prompt howls of unhappiness when Albertans begin to feel the pain.

Not that that will make much difference. Chances are good Mr. Kenney will successfully channel the rage back onto Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, equalization payments to Quebec, carbon taxes, and the failure of Ottawa to complete the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion by yesterday.

Experiencing déjà vu all over again, Alberta’s beleaguered progressives are preparing to resist this foolishness as best they can. The smart money says there’s not much they can do.

But just remember, folks, in 1415, the smart money wasn’t on the English army with King Henry in the vasty fields of France — outnumbered, poorly armed, demoralized, and far from home. And just look what happened on this day that year at Agincourt!

And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

24 Comments to: Alberta is Alberta again! The poor little rich kid of Confederation brings down a budget

  1. Just Me

    October 25th, 2019

    I recall from my brief encounters with Jason Kenney. Back then he was still in his 20s, the director of the CTF, and a prospective Reform Party MP, he was imbued with the arrogance of youth and as pompous as any rebellious punk could be. Free of the responsibilities of family, a relationship, or anything that even remotely looked like a normal life, Kenney was a raging ideologue determined to remake the world in his own image. Like his fellow traveller, Ezra Levant, he was determined to “Burn, baby. Burn” and to hell with the consequences. Well, Alberta just bought itself a ton of crazy. Thanks to the reemergence of the US as a major O&G exporting nation, Alberta’s fossil fuel yogurt is so much trouble, you can’t give it away. Add into that Kenney’s determination to return to Ottawa on the backs of Albertans just proves that (maybe) the Alberta voter is the stupidest person alive.

    As Alberta is devastated for the sake of Kenney’s aspirations of triumphantly enter the PMO, I no doubt that Albertans will continue to rail against Trudeau, believe every word that Rebel Media says, and forever hope for the next boom.

    And they promise – really promise – to not piss the next boom away.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    October 25th, 2019

    This is a reminder as to where Alberta’s finances went. People need to share this as much as possible. The Alberta PCs, after Peter Lougheed left office, are the ones who virtually depleted Alberta’s finances, from multitudes of very costly scandals and neglect. Since 1986, the Alberta PCs allowed very poor oil royalty rates for our oil, depriving Alberta of $200 billion. Since 1986, the Alberta PCs virtually depleted the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, leaving hardly anything in it. Ralph Klein used it for very costly scandals, like Alpac/Mitsubishi, to help finance his provincial election campaigns, and to help pay off the provincial debt/deficit. Since 1986, the Alberta PCs did the most costliest scandals in Canada’s history. The $67 million Gainer’s scandal, the Principle Trust scandal, wasted $110 million on a metal smelting plant screwup, did the $600 million NovaTel scandal, the now $5 billion, (and growing) Swan Hills waste treatment plant blunder, the $180 million Miller West Pulp Mill debacle, the $240 million MagCan scandal, blew almost $500 million, trying to bail out West Edmonton Mall, did the $125 million ambulance amalgamation screwup, the $100 million A.I.S.H scandal, (which was complete with Ralph Klein and his colleagues, laughing at and mocking the handicapped on T.V), made us pay for the Stockwell Day defamation lawsuit costs, did the $400 million B.S.E bailout failure, the $34.5 billion electricity deregulation disaster, the $7 billion PPA debacle, that went with it, wasted $2 billion on carbon capture and storage, wasted money on luxury penthouse suites, wasted money on expensive plane flights, with no extra passengers, did the $26 billion Northwest Upgrader fiasco, that had $9 billion in added costs, made us pay for Alison Redford’s $10 billion tobaccogate lawsuit scheme, which she did and got away with, has expensive lawsuit costs against the Alberta government, in relation to the numerous deaths of foster children in Alberta, left Albertans with a $260 billion bill to cleanup abandoned oil wells in Alberta, and so much more. In 2014, corporations in Alberta owed $1.1 billion in unpaid taxes. For many years prior, corporations in Alberta owed very large amounts of money that went uncollected by the Alberta PCs. After Peter Lougheed left office, the Alberta PCs badly neglected infrastructure in Alberta, leaving Alberta with a $26 billion infrastructure debt. The Alberta PCs put in taxes of various sorts. Taxes on liquor, taxes on tobacco products, taxes on beverage container purchases in Alberta, taxes on motel stays in Alberta, with health care premiums in Alberta, with VLTs in Alberta, (it’s a regressive type of tax), taxes on electronic purchases in Alberta, and with Ed Stelmach’s carbon tax, (Jason Kenney did not get rid of Alberta’s carbon tax, as it’s still there). The UCP’s corporate tax cuts have lost Alberta $4.5 billion. The UCP has made over $13 billion in very costly mistakes so far. Because Saudi Arabia and America have had a vice grip on oil prices, since 2014, keeping oil prices low, how will Jason Kenney’s corporate tax cuts help with the revenue issue? These corporate tax cuts have not produced a single job. What were Albertans thinking, after voting in this garbage? Expect more crime, more poverty, more homelessness and more desperation with this UCP disaster budget. Peter Lougheed would be disgusted with this, if he were still around.

    Reply
  3. John McManus

    October 25th, 2019

    Today we hear that the Norwegian fund has passed a significant milestone. They have taken their oil money and invested it to benefit their populace.

    Alberta could have done that but gave to profits to American oil companies. They pissed it all away.

    Reply
  4. Simon Renouf

    October 25th, 2019

    DC, I had a slightly different reaction to the Budget. It was odd that Mr Toews invoked the virtue of courage in his speech. What I’m seeing is a cowardly lion. After repeatedly citing the McKinnon report he made none of the tough calls that McKinnon advocated. As you and others have pointed out, following the McKinnon report would have led to significant closures of rural hospitals, reduction to the number of physicians, and elimination of specific government programs. Instead the pusillanimous proposals of Mr Toews just kick all the hard decisions downstairs. What 2100 jobs will be cut in government? “Not to worry ‘attrition’ will take care of that”. Any other government in Canada could have told Mr Toews, that doesn’t work. Attrition doesn’t happen where you want it. Reducing expenditures to colleges, universities and municipalities, and flat school grants and health spending despite a growing population is based on more magical thinking: “we’ll just make it someone else’s problem”. Asking public sector unions to “do their bit”? Please. Higher tuition, higher municipal taxes, and delays in much needed infrastructure are the inevitable result. Mr Toews thinks he can float above it all. Really, what this budget shows is a big courage deficit.

    Reply
    • Jerrymacgp

      October 26th, 2019

      Stay tuned, Mr Renouf … this is just their first budget, and one for a fiscal year more than half over. The real pain will come in the 2020-21 budget.

      Reply
  5. Jim

    October 25th, 2019

    So what does this mean to you? “measures to reduce the rate of growth in the supply of physicians will be necessary to reduce the rate of growth in physician compensation costs.”

    Apparently “Alberta boasts a world-renowned resource base, a stable, business-friendly environment, highly competitive tax structure, a young and highly educated workforce, and some of the strongest economic fundamentals in the country.” Yet we must cut?

    It is interesting that instead of providing support for upgrader development they have instead decided to cut future revenue through royalty reduction. Wonder who convinced them this was a good idea?

    There is a lot of pausing in indexing for seniors and aish recipients particularly which gives the cover of not being an actual cut but really is about 3%. To top things off they are cutting support for small brewers so we can’t even drown our sorrows in a quality Alberta microbrew.

    The brunt of the education cuts won’t hit parents until next year it appears.

    Reply
  6. Colino

    October 25th, 2019

    I believe I read somewhere that this budget is reducing funding to the municipalities. Klein did the same thing and because the municipalities had to raise taxes to make up for it, my property taxes went from $30.00 a year to over $800.00 a year that it is now. If I’ve done the math right that’s a 2500% increase since his reign. It’s such an insidious maneuver seeing as how most people have mortgages and don’t even know what they pay in property taxes as they are included in their mortgage payment.
    Colino

    Reply
  7. Michael

    October 25th, 2019

    Some budget related comments:

    Klein got away with his cuts because he was fortunate to have high natural gas prices and royalties at the time, and also had a number of public assets that he was able to privatize and sell off. The UCP does not have that luxury. Unless they get very lucky with a mini-oil boom due to unforeseeable circumstances 3 years from now, people might be very angry with them.

    In spite of all the anti-tax rhetoric in the UCP campaign, and in the general public, and the frequently repeated mantra that we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem, it is interesting (and one could say hypocritical on their part) to see that they HAVE addressed revenue in small ways and in fact raised taxes. Apart from raising taxes on tobacco and other things, and various fees, they have 1) stopped adjusting the tax brackets and personal exemption for inflation and 2) eliminated the tuition and education deductions. While the second of these could easily be dismissed by many because students rarely pay much tax, this is not quite true, because A) students can carry over those deductions for future years when they are no longer studying and actually making money B) (perhaps more immediate), in many cases $ 5000 of those deductions is being claimed by parents or guardians of the students (that is 500 extra in the tax bill of a lot of people — in the tens of thousands, I would guess; my own taxes (total) for 2018 would have increased by about 1.8 % with this change, but the percent increase in Provincial income tax would have been much larger – over 6.5 % – last year was the last one in which I had an eligible dependent in full time studies). By raising the interest rates on student loans, and giving institutions license to raise tuition fees rapidly, they have certainly not done anything to make life more affordable for Albertans – which is kind of funny considering how often their federal allies went on about affordability being the big issue for Canadians.

    This is going to get worse – the proverbial will really hit the fan when health care, schools, colleges and Universities have to find ways to balance their budgets, and collective agreements get thrown out the window to reduce compensation.

    Reply
  8. alan

    October 25th, 2019

    Alberta always was Alberta, even when the ‘socialists’ were briefly in charge. The only thing that has changed is the hysteria injected into the renewed campaign to find scapegoats for both the operational mismanagement of the oil and gas royalty revenue framework and what will surely be a slow painful sunset as the economic transition unfolds.

    For example,

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/01/10/new-york-city-sues-shell-exxonmobil-and-other-oil-majors-over-climate-change/ )

    In the meantime, for industry and its shareholders it has been an economic windfall, for the hypothetical owners of the resource, not so much.

    And so, the PR and lobbying campaign for the oil and gas industry is now being conducted directly from the Legislature by the oil and gas industry preferred candidate. As part of the fantasy and fear campaign, “Alberta United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney closed out the weekend’s Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa by suggesting the oil industry is “under massive attack.” “That engine of our prosperity is under massive attack.”

    Of course, the reality is only ‘slightly different’, where; “Royalties have collapsed by 59% or $9.5 billion from 2000-2017, despite more than doubling oil production and increasing combined oil and gas production by 47%.” And, “Royalty percentage on sales revenue has collapsed from 19.5% to 5.1% in Alberta from 2000-2017.” Meanwhile, oil sands production has grown 376% from 2000-2018.

    https://assets.nationbuilder.com/parklandinstitute/pages/1686/attachments/original/1552409317/hughes_presentation.pdf?1552409317

    That is the difference between the proverbial mine and the shaft and also, like the cartoon says, “What you environmentalists have got to understand, is the destruction of the planet may be the price we have to pay for a healthy economy.”

    Reply
  9. Dave

    October 25th, 2019

    I think the initial advantage in this battle, which will probably end up being long, drawn out and fought on many fronts, will go to the government. The UCP campaigned on some vague sort of spending restraint, which voters sort of endorsed and it will take a while for the public to digest everything they are doing. It will also take a while before the full impact of the cuts is really felt by the public.

    If it appears, that the reaction to the cuts by opponents is too reflexive and just from the expected people the government has already declared war on, this may not persuade the broader public. So rather than rush into battle right away, the response needs to be planned and reasoned in a way the broader public can accept and support.

    One of the disadvantages the government has is these cuts are very broad, so far reaching and enduring (for over three year into the future). An overall cut of 2.8% does not sound like much, but in an attempt to perhaps limit the fall out in the very sensitive area of health care, which accounts for a large part of of government spending, much bigger cuts have to be made to various other areas. The cuts to university funding will probably not lose much the UCP much support as few students probably voted for them anyways, but cuts to things like municipal funding and seniors drug benefits will affect many people who may have voted UCP. Of course the UCP will try go around saying there are no tax increases, but that message will not go over well for people buying cigarettes, vaping, using Air B&B or people who notice our personal provincial tax credits are no longer indexed. Some of the cuts to Arts and Culture funding come in by my calculation around 30%. Again, not a constituency that was probably a big source of votes for the UCP, but one that will now be very angry, probably very vocal, very motivated, has the potential to organize and get its message out. The disproportionate size of the cuts may help get them more public sympathy than they would otherwise, if it were say only 5%.

    Mr. Klein had so many advantages when he made his cuts in the 1990’s. First, he had years of prior experience in managing a large municipal government along with its budget and finances, so I think he understood the relationship between government finances and the political side fairly well. Mr. Kenney while he was a part of Harper’s government, was for whatever reasons mostly kept out of the key economic portfolios and was in the sidecar pursuing votes from the multicultural community and keeping social conservatives happy. Second, Klein had very good timing. When he became Premier, a recession had just ended and shortly after natural gas prices started to rise a lot, increasing royalties considerably so he was able to ease off on the initial pain and still balance the budget faster than expected. Third, I think Klein was also elected on a much clearer mandate for cuts and more of a multi party consensus existed in Alberta for cuts at that time.

    Mr. Kenney’s list of political enemies is already dangerously long, including environmentalists and now the Federal government. It is going to grow considerably after this budget and Alberta already has an opposition party that is large enough and experienced enough to also be a formidable and effective opponent. It does not seem like the economy is co-operating so far for Kenney, with oil prices languishing and the spectre of an international recession on the horizon, at the end of a long economic expansion. I am sure the political calculations were very carefully made to try not to anger too many people too much, but in his zeal to cut Mr. Kenney may be closer to the tipping point than he realizes and while the mobilization of all his opponents may not on its own stop him, it will not take too much bad economic news to possibly push him over the edge and I expect there could be some of that.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      October 26th, 2019

      Dave: There are things you need to be made aware of. When Laurence Decore was mayor of Edmonton, from 1980 – 1989, he managed to reduce Edmonton’s debt by 3/4. Contrast this with Ralph Klein, when he was mayor of Calgary, from 1980 – 1989. Ralph Klein left Calgary with the largest debt it ever had up to that point, leaving a debt of nearly $1.5 billion. There was no advantages to Ralph Klein’s cutbacks. We are still feeling the effects of those cutbacks today. Actually, Don Getty said that he started the austerity, but Ralph Klein magnified them greatly. There is no advantages to laying off very large amounts of nurses and teachers. Also, there is no advantages to disregarding infrastructure upkeep. We still see infrastructure is in a state of disrepair. Ralph Klein did not balance any budget. People have to stop believing that lie that Ralph Klein fed them. Ralph Klein understood nothing in relation to being fiscally responsible. The only thing Ralph Klein understood was being an arrogant drunk. These cuts by the UCP, include passing on infrastructure maintenance to municipalities. They will have to increase property taxes to make up for this. This will be felt very quickly. Students paying more for post secondary education will feel the crunch very quickly. Seniors and the lower income earners will feel the impacts of this ill planned UCP budget very quickly. The UCP’s corporate tax cuts have already cost Alberta $4.5 billion. This UCP budget has over $9 billion in losses. That’s close to $15 billion lost. People did not think when they voted in the UCP. The UCP won by fraudulent means, is more like it. There are no more oil booms, and that’s a fact. This UCP budget will not impact the wealthy, but others will feel it. Anyone with even the slightest bit of common sense would know that the cuts that Don Getty started, and that Ralph Klein exponentially increased, would not be needed, if they were not bogged down by their love of doing the most costliest scandals Canada has ever seen, and then lying and saying they never did anything wrong. Austerity is a neoliberal philosiphy, which the Fraser Institute and the Manning Centre supports, because it leads to private for profit schemes, which they love to support, which is corporate welfare. The Fraser Institute and the Manning Centre also love other failed neoliberal policies like deregulation and the flat tax, which are two of Ralph Klein’s other very costly failures. With the UCP, Albertans were duped into thinking they had something good. Jason Kenney is a fraud, a liar and a cheater. He said the UCP would not engage in Ralph Klein style cuts. We have them with this failed UCP budget. Jason Kenney became Alberta’s premier by questionable means. The R.C.M.P are still investigating him for election related infractions. If Peter Lougheed were still around, he would be totally disgusted by the UCP’s stupid and foolish antics. The Alberta PCs, other than Peter Lougheed’s government, never did anything right. The Wildrose were copycats of that. The UCP is not doing anything right either.

      Reply
    • Keith McClary

      October 26th, 2019

      Even Lorne Gunter is skeptical:

      “Yet Toews’ balanced budget plan still relies on revenues from income taxes rising almost 20 per cent over the next four years. Corporate tax revenues rising by nearly 30 per cent, resource revenues by 32 per cent and even transfers from Ottawa by six.

      That’s a smaller gamble than the NDP were making, but it’s still a gamble especially given the potential damage a Trudeau re-election could do to energy investment and pipeline construction.

      Yet at the same time, the UCP have undersold the austerity contained in their budget.

      Kenney and Toews have both gone out of their way to reassure Albertans that this is not a Klein-era budget. And in terms of big, showy cuts it’s not.

      On the surface, this budget contains a less than three per cent cut in spending over four years versus the 18 per cent cut in Ralph Klein’s first three budgets.

      However, if the UCP are able to follow their spending plans (there’s that “trust us” – again), after accounting for inflation and population growth this budget will amount to a spending cut of nearly 14 per cent between now and 2023.

      Kenney and Toews clearly know this, yet have downplayed the depth of their cuts in an attempt to win broader support for their ‘moderate’ approach.”

      Reply
    • Just Me

      October 26th, 2019

      Of course it should noted that Kenney is already planning his departure from Alberta’s hell-scape.

      There’s no doubt that Scheer will be gone before the expected leadership review. The party will give him the honour of showing off in the H of C, but the fix is already in. Scheer will resign sometime before April and avoid the scene of being frog marched out of the leadership. His end is nigh.

      As for likely successors, rumours that Peter McKay (He of the military helicopter fishing trips and sleeping on Condoleezza Rice’s floor.) have been quashed as the Alberta so-cons would rebel. (And he married an Iranian woman, so racism, too.) This leaves Kenney to plot his vainglorious return to the federal scene. Once the party accepts the formula of ‘one member one vote’, with the vast majority of party membership in Alberta, Kenney’s resurrection is assured.

      Reply
      • Dave

        October 27th, 2019

        I wouldn’t be surprised Kenney is planning a return to Ottawa. Alberta will be a really tough slog over the next few years, with not much economic recovery in sight and I think he has always had higher ambitions anyways.

        Personally, I think the Conservatives would do better in the GTA with McKay, whatever his past foibles are. Maybe its time for a leader that is not from AB or Sask. They should also give up their anti carbon tax rhetoric too, that is not going to sell very well outside the west or anywhere in the world increasingly concerned about climate change. I doubt they will do either though, so Kenney has a good chance of getting back to Ottawa as Conservative leader.

        Reply
  10. Farmer Brian

    October 26th, 2019

    The number that stuck out to me is the accumulated debt in 2023-2024 as was projected by the former NDP government and by the present UCP government. The NDP projected a $100 billion deficit and the UCP project I believe a$93 billion deficit. Both are way too high. Alberta governments since the early 2000’s have done an extremely poor job of budgeting. I could go through each failing of the UCP’s budget but that would be pointless. In the end this budget downloads onto municipalities, increases costs to Albertan’s and does very little to balance the budget. Unfortunately Albertan’s refuse to entertain the imposition of a sales tax, even Rachel Notley refused to look at what is a more stable and economically friendly way of funding government services. Enjoy your day.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      October 27th, 2019

      Surely you mean debt, not deficit. Even I, tax-and-spend liberal that I am, would reckon a $100-billion deficit was a little too high. DJC

      Reply
  11. Farmer Brian

    October 26th, 2019

    I apologize for the second post on this topic but by the time Albertan’s finally accept that we need a sales tax it will to some extent be to late. A sales tax is projected to bring in $1 billion in revenue for every 1%. So a 5% sale tax would in theory bring in $5 billion in revenue. As our debt approaches $100 this additional revenue will just cover the interest payments on our accumulated debt with a little bit left over to spend on government programs. So we will be paying more tax with really little benefit, very sad.

    Reply
    • Gail

      October 27th, 2019

      I completely disagree on a sales tax. A sales tax is regressive and penalized low and middle income earners disproportional. A sales tax takes proportionately more the lower the income earned. 1% of $20,000 is a bigger portion of that $20,000 than 1% of $200,000.

      We need to have a negative income tax where the more income is made the higher the tax. More importantly we need to rise the corporate tax rate to at least where Ralph Klein had it in the 90s.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        October 28th, 2019

        Gail: You do know that the Alberta PCs were thinking of implementing a P.S.T, before Alison Redford was premier of Alberta, don’t you? Also, the Alberta PCs put in taxes of various sorts. Taxes on alcohol, taxes on cigarettes, taxes on beverage container purchases, taxes on motel stays in Alberta, with health care premiums in Alberta, with VLTs, (a regressive type of tax), with electronic purchases in Alberta, and with a carbon tax that Ed Stelmach put in, (Jason Kenney did not get rid of Alberta’s carbon tax, because we still have it). Where did all this money go?

        Reply
      • Farmer Brian

        October 28th, 2019

        Gail a couple of thoughts in relation to corporate tax rates. In 2000 Alberta’s corporate tax rate was 15.5%. In the 2000-2001 budget year Alberta generated $2.023 billion in corporate tax revenue. Alberta also recieved $7.2 billion in royalty revenue from natural gas(natural gas prices were much higher then then they are now), $1.5 billion from crude oil and $712 million from bitumen. If we move forward to the 2013-2014 budget year at a 10% corporate tax rate Alberta recieved $5.488 billion in corporate tax revenue, in the 2014-2015 budget year corporate tax revenue was $5.796 billion. Oil prices started to drop in the last half of 2014. In the first year of Premier Notley’s tenure in 2015-2016 the corporate tax rate was raised to 12%. Corporate taxes brought in $4.195 in that budget year. In 2016-2017 budget year there was $3.769 billion in corporate tax revenue. In 2017-2018 budget year there was $3.448 billion in corporate tax revenue. It climbed back to $4.871 billion in the 2018-2019 budget year. The point of all these number is that higher corporate tax rates don’t always increase revenue. No doubt Alberta’s economy was smaller in the 2000-2001 budget year. But Rachel Notley’s higher tax rate never produced as much corporate tax revenue at 12% as the previous 10% rate under the former P.C. Government due to the economic conditions in Alberta. Every province in Canada has a sales tax except Alberta. Are lower income families doing worse in other provinces than those in Alberta? Not to my knowledge. It always amazes me that those who support the NDP are so against a sales tax and at the same time think that the job creators in business are the ones who should be taxed higher to fund government. Enjoy your day.

        Reply
        • Kang

          October 28th, 2019

          Farmer B: the point of higher corporate income tax rates, aside from the fact it is the corporate sector that has all the money, is that it gives a corporation an incentive to avoid income tax by investing in better machinery and equipment and hiring more people (all a write off from income tax) rather than sending it to shareholders in Zurich and Houston. This enhances productivity and increases aggregate demand in the economy, especially in a resource based economy like Alberta where the resources are not movable.

          There is no point taxing poor people, they have no money and it is not cost-efficient.

          Reply
          • Farmer Brian

            October 29th, 2019

            Kang you might inspire corporations to invest in people and equipment or they might just sell their assets and leave. Since 2015 7 multinational corporations have sold their oil sands assets and left. They include Statoil, Koch Industries, Imperial oil, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil and Royal Dutch Shell. Now no doubt this has as much to do with the price of oil as it does regulatory changes and lack of new export capacity but there is certainly a risk if you push taxes to high. Now in the UCP’s case, lowering corporate taxes in my opinion will be of little benefit, companies have left and in my opinion they are not coming back. Enjoy your day.

          • Kang

            October 30th, 2019

            Farmer B: Sell their assets and leave? Good riddance. The magic of the market is somebody will buy those assets at a reduced cost base which may allow them to make a profit. There will still be revenue and jobs to tax. The tar will always have some value. It was not so long ago that Alberta was the envy of the world with the three integrated tar plants that we have and that are still exceptionally profitable.

            From a jobs perspective, the fly in the ointment is automation, which as a farmer you have seen the effect of over the past 20 years. The urbans and the oil types are just at the beginning of seeing what automation means. That is why income taxation, rather than asset taxation is so important – especially to the viability of the farm community, but also to the wider community.

  12. November 9th, 2019

    Alberta can disappoint people sometimes, and this is one of those cases. I hope that this won’t happen again, and the people who were involved in this have gotten the punishment that they deserve.

    Reply

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